Joe Schoen wasn’t able to add an elite wide receiver before the NFL’s November 1 trade deadline on November 1. Nor did the New York Giants’ general manager deal away a Pro Bowler who hasn’t played up to his billing.
Schoen’s attempts to engineer trades were thwarted, despite the Giants entering into “conversations” according to a leading NFL insider. Their primary target was too pricey for a rebuilding team to justify a deal, while the Giants are stuck with an incumbent who hasn’t stayed healthy or produced enough to tempt another franchise into giving anything away.
Giants Stuck with Pricey Pro-Bowler
Not being able to find Golladay a new home had to rate as a disappointment for both player and franchise. Golladay hasn’t come close to justifying the four-year contract worth $72 million he signed to leave the Detroit Lions in 2021.
The Giants hoped they were getting a true WR1 based on how Golladay had thrived for the Lions. He’d recorded two 1,000-yard seasons in Detroit, earning a Pro-Bowl berth and leading the league with 11 touchdown catches in 2019.
Since then, Golladay has missed 18 games through injury and recorded just 39 catches for the Giants. He’s still yet to catch a touchdown since moving to MetLife Stadium.
Golladay hasn’t even responded well to the positive impact of the new regime led by Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. Instead, he’s gone public with gripes about his playing time:
There’s not much reason to believe Golladay should be on the field, even allowing for the Giants’ paucity of talent among the receiving corps. Sterling Shepard is out for the season thanks to a torn Achilles, while Richie James has had issues protecting the football.
A lack of options has left quarterback Daniel Jones relying on Darius Slayton while rookie Wan’Dale Robinson continues to get up to speed. Ironically, there’s a place for Golladay, provided the 6’4″, 214-pounder can finally put his size, speed and efficiency in the red zone to good use.
Golladay’s recent history suggests the Giants shouldn’t hold their collective breath waiting for him to finally break out. It’s why Schoen was prepared to at least enter into talks for a six-time 1,000-yard receiver who’s proven as a big-play threat.
Giants Couldn’t Afford Best Answer to WR Problem
The Giants didn’t get close to dealing Golladay, according to Rapoport, and nor was Schoen in the vicinity of being able to land Brandin Cooks. Rapoport acknowledged the Giants’ interest in the prolific veteran, but said “it never got close.”
One reason the Giants were unable to make a deal for Cooks may have been the asking price demanded by the Houston Texans. It was hefty to say the least, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
The Giants can be forgiven for not stumping up, even though Cooks would have solved their wide receiver problem. He’s an established deep target, as well as somebody who has topped 1,000 yards for each of the Texans, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
Cooks has the qualities the Giants need to resuscitate a dormant passing game, but prime draft capital can be more important after what Rapoport correctly dubbed a “retooling year.” The Giants are rebuilding but have played above expectations during a 6-2 start.
A fast start is a credit to Schoen and Daboll, but it can’t mask the other obvious deficiencies aside from receiver. The interior of the offensive line could use blue chip talent, while inside linebacker, interior defensive line and tight end need a boost.
There’s also the looming dilemma of Jones’ future. Schoen declined the quarterback’s fifth-year option, potentially leading to a scenario where the Giants are selecting a new starter at football’s most important position in next year’s draft. If the Giants keep winning this season, they’ll need picks to trade up and find Jones’ successor next April.
Long-term planning excuses Schoen for shunning a trade for Cooks, but the Giants are winning now. Their chances of continuing to win would’ve improved with the arrival of a marquee receiver.
Not even an offensive mind as mercurial as Daboll’s can go on manufacturing points and yards with limited resources. The Giants may be better served in the future by keeping draft choices now, but that requires a leap of faith.
It’s less of a stretch to predict a passing attack mustering the third-fewest yards in football will soon derail this season’s team.